Report: Inmate death ruled homicide

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An autopsy report on an inmate who died in the custody of sheriff’s deputies at the Madison County Detention Center two years ago ruled the death a homicide. The autopsy report was signed and released by the state Medical Examiner on Monday.

Harvey Hill, 36, died on May 6, 2018, just hours after he was arrested for trespassing and booked into the jail.

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Hill’s family in February 2019, the incident began after jail employees intervened in a physical altercation between Hill and another inmate. 

The suit alleges that the guards handcuffed Hill, beat him and used pepper spray on him in a processing bathroom at the jail before putting him back in his cell. Hill was found unresponsive and rushed to Merit Central Hospital in Jackson the next morning, where he was pronounced dead.

The autopsy report, signed by Chief Medical Examiner Mark LeVaughn, lists Hill’s cause of death as “Multiple Blunt Trauma.” 

The report says multiple images of Hill’s head, chest and abdomen revealed abrasions on his chest and the base of his neck, contusions on his chest, scalp and neck, one hematoma on his neck, gastrointestinal contusions, a lacerated liver and a contusion of the tongue.

Grenada lawyer Carlos Moore, the lead attorney for Hill’s family, said Monday the autopsy report just vindicated everything his own investigation into Hill’s death revealed.

“At this point, we’re trying to figure out how someone hasn’t been charged in this homicide,” Moore said. “We know Mississippi has a backlog of cases for the state medical examiner, but for it to take more than two years to get this report is inexcusable.”

The lawsuit names Madison County and Sheriff Randy Tucker as defendants, as well as five guards, 10 jail employees identified as John Does, two nurses and one doctor.

The family is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages against the individually named defendants, and attorney’s fees.

Moore said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was handling the case, but it is unclear whether there is an ongoing investigation into Hill’s death. 

Attempts to reach MBI  were unsuccessful.


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